Prius Personal Log  #1128

February 19, 2022  -  February 24, 2022

Last Updated:  Sat. 3/26/2022

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2-24-2022

300 Miles.  I especially like this comment: "Ho Hum.  Most have 300 mile range, many give 3 years of free fast charging.  As Elon says Room for improvement."  That attitude had been prevalent for a long time.  It is finally losing grip though.  When the market had only one example of leadership, it was easy to dismiss other goals.  From the Tesla perspective, it is still like that.  They have an audience with lots of deposable income and a network of very nice SuperChargers.  Change is coming.  There's growing pressure of the CCS standard.  The proprietary connection Tesla uses is becoming a conundrum they can no longer avoid.  Growth of BEV through lower prices is a problem too.  An affordable Tesla would harm potential for more expensive models.  The approach currently taken is far too brittle, too risky, to introduce change.  The market is a moving target though.  That's a real problem.  I was happy to point that out, as you could imagine.  I just did a quick lookup of the first few BEV that came to mind and posted the results of my findings:  Most automakers have base models offering well under 300 miles, because they see a market for them, for example...  260 = Mach-E,  256 = Ioniq 5,  250 = Model 3 SR+ LFP,  245 = ID.4,  230 = F-150 Lightning.

2-24-2022

Within One Hour.  This statement sure has some in a stir today: "capable of 80% charge within one hour".  Enthusiasts don't understand audience.  They only know hard numbers, like: "While I'm sure 80% is already well into the change taper, this is 200 miles in 60 minutes.  Cars like the Ioniq, EV6, and the new Teslas can do this in under 20 minutes.  The Lucid only takes 12 minutes to charge 200 miles."  That naturally requires quite a bit of context, all of which they fail to include.  You only get those speeds when starting from near empty with a fully warmed battery.  If the pack has substantial capacity already filled or it is still cold, recharging speed will be much slower.  There's also the lack of recognition related to infrastructure... or choosing to disregard it.  Not all DC fast-chargers are that fast.  Looking to my east (from here in Minnesota), I see most of stations on EVgo are just 50 kW.  Electrify America is a mix of 150 kW and 350 kW.  Looking to my south, I see the variety of offerings with the same mix of 150 kW and 350 kW.  To my west & north, there is nothing yet.  The proposed federal initiative is to fund the building of 150 kW stations.  So, it's a mystery what kind of push there will be for faster.  50 kW is the bare minimum, but had been the most affordable with limited funding and no big-picture effort.  But with more money and greater latitude (no just major corridors, actually trying to help in rural areas), we can see change.  It makes sense to focus on getting as many 150 kW stations built as possible.  If the location proves to be popular, the decision of increased volume and/or speed can be determined at that point.  We are only just starting... hence trying to set realistic expectations with the "hour" mention.  I replies to the enthusiast comment with:  That is an attempt to set realistic expectations.  We know the 150 kW will indeed recharge as you would expect when warm... about 23 minutes from 10 to 80%.  But when an uninformed owner tries to recharge when cold, it will definitely take longer... somewhere around an hour during in challenging conditions.  We have all seen the blogging videos of that already, where some BEV owner had to wait for the battery to warm-up before getting faster kW rates.  In other words, know your audience.  Toyota is targeting ordinary consumers, not well informed individuals like those reading this comment.

2-23-2022

Progress.  It is difficult to measure, even if you know what to look for.  If you don't, narratives draw you in.  That just naturally happens when participating online.  Heck, just reading some of the stuff is enough to confuse & mislead.  Making assumptions adds to the problem.  How does one assess "progress" when they really don't know what the goals are?  This is what I was so relentless with the Volt troublemakers.  Constant attitude claiming success from a source without any defined target audience or measureable outcome was maddening.  They were doomed to fail and too clueless to see it.  What does that mean for the people I interact with now?  I'm not sure.  So, I keep posting history to at least try to ensure proper context is established.  It's so hard knowing if any of this really makes any difference when you already have confirmed lack of interest.  I try anyway:  Reports from owners where everything works fine are difficult to find.  People are compelled to go online when there is a problem.  That's the nature of forums & blogs.  There simply isn't a draw when nothing is wrong and nothing stands out.  It's the very reason Toyota is at about 20 million hybrids sold and only a chunk of them are Prius.  The other models... Camry, Corolla, Sienna, Venza, RAV4... go completely unnoticed.  In fact, Tundra and Sequoia are quietly being added to the mix.  In other words, real measure of success is how much the fleet actually transforms.  Neither negative nor positive publicity really inform you of progress.  In this case, watch what happens with ID.4 sales.  Do they remain mostly conquest for the foreseeable future or are loyal customers quietly just replacing their aged VW with a new VW that plugs in?

2-22-2022

LFP Spin.  Reading this article title was troubling: "Tesla's reverse on battery cells signals shift for electric vehicles".  It referred to LFP chemistry as "older" and the decision a "reverse" of progress.  The portrayal of the situation was an outcome due to nickel & cobalt supply shortages.  No where did it mention that those elements are plagued with political & environmental problems, nor did it mention that its use sacrifices longevity for the sake of increased energy-density for longer range.  It was a narrative spinning reality, portraying the situation everyone outside of China having moved on to better chemistries.  I was pleased to at least see a brief mention of them being more "thermally stable", but was disappointed that the only benefit was with regard to "recall costs".  No where was there even a hint that LFP could deliver 2 to 3 times as many charging cycles.  It also failed to mention how the upper-portion of the battery-capacity (80% to 100%) could also be used routinely without penalty.  It was a series of comment loaded with omission.  That's how narratives work.  They tell you what they want you to know.  Near the conclusion of the article, the real concern was revealed.  LFP is disruptive.  Much investment has been made already on the wrong chemistry.  Consequences of premature lock-in are already being noticed.  That's a big oops those who made fun of Toyota for supposedly "kicking & screaming" are coming to realize the value of patience.  Taking the time to make decisions of major impact by continuing to research and resisting the urge to comment can really pay off.  This spin seems to reveal a recognition of that wisdom having been disregarded.

2-22-2022

Inevitable Downplay.  Sure enough, I got jumped on right away.  That troublemaker still holding a gripe about Volt having failed attempted to downplay the importance of having a heat-pump.  It was inevitable.  Despite all the praise online from others about how great it was for Tesla to finally adopt the technology, he just blissfully disregarded it for the sake of spite.  He attacked me directly as a troll for portraying all other automakers not Toyota as inferior too.  I didn't.  In fact, I had pointed out specifically that it was only our market that VW didn't provide a heat-pump for.  That's just a sales decision, temporary at best.  His anger was obvious.  I will only post this comment: "Heat Pump only helps in the winter in terms of range."  The rest was rhetoric.  I got a kick out of that.  On cool Summer evenings, it's quite common to turn the heater on.  When the rain pours, you turn it on too.  So, it's not a seasonal thing.  Of course for those of us in northern states, it's more than half a year anyway.  I replied specifically to that with:  Winter is from October through April for many... when you need cabin warming.  Look at when you have the heater turned on.  It's far more than such an attempt to downplay portrays.

2-22-2022

Range for ID.4  Some people online are clueless, obsessed with a single trait to such an extreme they don't understand why anything else matters.  Ugh.  We're seeing that more with regard to range.  The belief that more is better clouds their judgment.  All that our market needs to reach a tipping point is to be able to deliver greater distances of travel on a single charge and be able to restore it in minutes.  That attitude of nothing-else-matters is really troubling.  Cost, safety, longevity don't matter.  It's all about focusing on what matters to them... not what our market actually needs for mainstream acceptance.  It's the same old nonsense I saw with Volt.  Enthusiasts becoming blinded, unable to see what is really important... in other words, need.  They want more.  That's why today's announcement of the 2022 model of ID.4 getting a range increase was all regarded as a huge win.  The reality that a BEV with less range could deliver the same outcome, or perhaps even better, wouldn't get any attention.  So, I brought it up:  Range is becoming an increasingly misleading measure.  ID.4 for 2021 in the North American market didn't include a heat-pump.  As a result, real-world numbers will be lower than another BEV with the same EPA rating that does.  Think about what this means for new offerings, like bZ4X which does include a heat-pump.  It's 250-mile rating will skew the 280 for ID.4.  The wisdom of "your results may vary" takes on a whole new level of complexity with electricity is involved.

2-20-2022 Narratives & Truth.  It feels good to be able to post something like this, which I did today on a big Prius forum thread discussion the next-gen Prius:

Speaking of Prime and misinformation, I find it quite vindicating just how forward thinking Toyota really is.  There is so much of the "behind" narrative being spread without any context.  The best antagonists can deliver is belittle range & speed.  When you bring up a topic like the heat-pump, they go silent.  That's a dead-giveaway outlook is changing.

Prius Prime led the industry by offering a heat-pump standard.  That simply wasn't focus back then.  Even Tesla was completely ignoring the topic of cabin-warming efficiency.  Heck, VW chose not to even offer a heat-pump for ID.4 in our market.  And to get one from Hyundai for Ioniq 5, you must purchase the AWD model.  Winter efficiency is a big deal, something Toyota addressed years ago.

Toyota also made the battery-heater standard back with Prius Prime.  If you select the option and stay plugged in, winter performance is clearly improved. EV mode works to the very lowest tolerance of heat-pump operation and efficiency is better.

What I get the biggest kick out of though is the discovery of automakers offering a "new" feature that directs heat only to the seats that are occupied.  Again, that is something Toyota delivered standard way back when Prius Prime was first rolled out.

Staying ahead of those trying to undermine market position, we have evidence of "behind" rhetoric really struggling with Toyota's latest innovation.  bZ4X will introduce a rather clever solution to cabin warming.  Why not just target part of your body most exposed to cold temperatures... your feet & legs?  The BEV about to begin production on Toyota's new e-TNGA platform will deliver a warmer for exactly that.  Directing energy to where it is needed most is a means of reducing overall consumption.

It's amazing how some don't see what should be obvious.  There is far more to delivering a competitive BEV than just squeezing in as much battery as possible.  Prius Prime helped to reveal such an inconvenient truth.

2-20-2022

Fast Rate Charging.  It is a confusing & vague topic.  At least people are talking about it now.  In the past, it was comparisons of the dying CHAdeMO standard and Tesla SuperCharging.  There was never any detail and the thought of a new standard was just a dream... despite the fact that Europe won the push for CCS back in 2018.  Years back though, the first round of SuperCharger upgrades were underway.  That was just to keep competitive, not a end by any means.  It was the first time upgrades were being addressed though.  Even when backward compatible, what does that mean for those who get stuck waiting at a charger?  Whether you own the slower vehicle or are next in line after it finishes, that's a new problem.  It is why this comment annoyed me: "Yes, that's true but Nissan sets a limit on the battery temperature and will limit the charging rate.  I can tell with Leafspy and the limit is around 100°F."  Nissan itself has moved on.  What happened 10 years ago is interesting, but design was so profoundly different, the information served no purpose.  Leaf was slow and didn't have active cooling.  I responded with:  Ironically, that is well below the usual "fast rate" warm-up temperature, which is 50°C (122°F).   But then again, Leaf doesn't have any active cooling and CHAdeMO for it tops out at 70 kW.  So, there's nothing really relevant to "rapid charging" anymore with regard to Leaf.  Western industry (Europe & North America) has moved the bar up to 150 kW for affordable vehicle DC targets with even faster as an infrastructure goal.  Priority is to first make DC fast-charging work as a standard.  Currently... again, ironic... absence of battery-warming slows charging rather profoundly.  Owners are discovering that the hard way in the dead of winter.  Worse, some of the chargers themselves don't operate when temperature drops to about -20°C (-4°F).  Complicating matters are challenges still of how to payment/connection is made and how much the charging-session will cost.  Needless to say, we are still very much in the early-adopter stage with regard to fast charging.

2-20-2022

Smash The Throttle.  I haven't seen a comment like this in quite awhile: "Yes, that situation simply will not happen unless you are in EV-AUTO or HV mode.  You can smash the throttle to the floor, and the ICE won't come on in EV mode. Don't they even verify the claims they make?"  Sometimes, it feels good to get back to the basics.  I joined into that discussion with:  The things people don't understand is always a surprise.  It comes from taking comment at face value, a loss of critical thinking in our culture.  In this case, the "AUTO" part of EV-AUTO commonly gets misinterpreted as meaning that is what you want to ensure maximum EV driving.  The fact that there is also an EV mode doesn't get recognized.  There is no effort to figure out the difference.  So, they mistakenly select that, then get surprised when the engine starts.  Another very common misconception is with Charge-Mode.  People see the word "HOLD" in for button and assume the feature's name is "Charge Hold".  That is an instruction to hold the button down for engaging the mode.  You would think since the buttons for A/C and the horn also have that same word "HOLD" on them, the person will see the shared terminology.  So no, there is no verification. It's really sad how reviewers are especially short-sighted and don't bother to research.  Many of us have to deal with the misinformation they spread, enabling others to pass it along.  Ugh.

2-19-2022

Nothing.  It happened again.  News just came to a halt, there was nothing.  Even rhetoric was paused.  That's a sure sign of change.  At other times, you couldn't get antagonists to shut up.  They would invent problems for the sake of retaining attention.  It was an interesting time, when you know you are experiencing history as it was playing out.  In fact, that is exactly why I would write such extensive personal logs.  Capturing your thoughts in the moment is far more valuable than looking back afterward.  We have no clue what comes next, but there's always an opportunity to change the story afterward... unless what was said is carefully preserved the moment it was playing out.  Those archived thoughts & beliefs are priceless.  You learn from the uncertainty, becoming better adept at prediction... like recognizing moments of change... as we experienced this week.  Nothing is a sure sign.  Stopping to think about what could be newsworthy is riveting.  Topics have been exhausted.  There is nothing new.  There will be, but we have to wait to find out what.  Some talking-points just plain don't work anymore.  Faster acceleration-speed is pointless and the magic electric-range threshold has been reached.  Fulfilling those goals leaves enthusiasts with nothing to argue, nothing to look forward to, nothing to brag about.  They have reached an end where the vehicle is no longer the most important aspect of change.  We now must shift focus to infrastructure... which does not excite them.  They are lost now, no longer a barrier.  Yeah!  It took what seemed like forever to reach this point of nothingness.

 

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